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Old 12-07-2013, 12:37 PM   #1
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Why did my frozen chili go bad?

Hello.

Last Friday (the day after Thanksgiving), I went to a chili restaurant in the town where I grew up, about 90 minutes from where I live now. I bought two quarts of chili, and I packed them in a cooler with ice for the trip home. When I got home, I put both quarts in the refrigerator. By the way, the ice in the cooler was still frozen solid, and the chili was very cold. On Sunday, I decided we wouldn't be able to eat both quarts before they went bad, so I took one quart and split it between two Pyrex bowls and put them in the freezer. My wife and I continued to eat out of the refrigerated quart.

Around Tuesday, we were almost done with the refrigerated quart, so I put one of the frozen bowls in the fridge to thaw. We finished the refrigerated quart Tuesday night, and Wednesday night, we started into the once-frozen bowl of chili, but it tasted really bad! It really tasted spoiled. I was expecting it to possibly taste bland as if the spices had deteriorated, but it actually tasted rotten.

Nothing else in the freezer seems to have spoiled, so I don't think the freezer stopped working long enough for it to go bad. It seemed to go bad while it was frozen. In case my wording was confusing, I'll summarize: It was cooked on Friday, frozen on Sunday, thawed on Tuesday, and tasted spoiled on Wednesday.

Does anyone know what might have happened? Could it be an ingredient in the chili that can't handle being frozen?

Thank you!
Steven.

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Old 12-07-2013, 12:44 PM   #2
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This is very strange. Chili usually freezes beautifully. Could it be that the containers were from 2 separate batches? Can you give us an idea of what ingredients were in the chili?

Sorry this happened to you. BTW, welcome to DC!
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Old 12-07-2013, 01:11 PM   #3
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Wow, I'm baffled too. The detective in me keeps going over your story looking for some clue.

We haven't seen mcnerd around here for a while, but I can guess he'd have an answer.
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Old 12-07-2013, 02:16 PM   #4
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Thank you, Dawgluver and Kayelle!

I can't give you a good ingredients list, though I'm trying to duplicate it. It's one of those super-secret recipes that restaurants have sometimes. So far, here are the ingredients I've confirmed through various interviews I've read with the restaurant managers: pintos, hamburger, cornstarch, and apparently lots of cumin. There are other ingredients for sure, but I haven't don't know what they are.

I was actually hoping that this experience might help me determine more ingredients. Can you think of any ingredients that would go bad in the freezer? I never thought that anything could go bad in the freezer, especially within just a few days!

It is possible that they poured one quart from one batch and the other quart from another batch. They sell a ton of chili, and I'm sure they make several batches a day, but because of that, I can't imagine any chili sitting around long enough to go bad in the restaurant, but it could be.

I think I need to thaw out the second bowl of frozen chili and confirm that it also tastes bad. It should since it came from the same quart and was frozen at the same time.

Thanks again!
Steven.
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Old 12-07-2013, 02:19 PM   #5
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All of these ingredients withstand freezing just fine. My suspicions are that they scraped the remains of an old batch and put it in one container, then the second batch went into the second container. I have never had a batch of frozen chili go bad.

Another possibility might be a bad onion or pepper, but that's a pretty remote possibility. Thankfully, nobody got sick. I would report it to the place you bought it, let them know what happened.
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Old 12-07-2013, 02:26 PM   #6
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Steven, as far as I know, no ingredient can go bad in the freezer. It will loose flavor or end up with freezer burn, but not spoil if kept constantly frozen.

Frankly, I think I'd call the restaurant to alert them of this. If they are reputable they would like to get to the bottom of this.

Let us know OK?
BTW, welcome to Discuss Cooking.
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Old 12-07-2013, 02:36 PM   #7
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Ok. Thanks to both of you. I am thawing the other bowl of chili. If it tastes ok, then the mystery deepens. If it's bad, I'll call the restaurant and let them know that it tasted bad. Maybe they had other reports. I'll let you know. Thanks again!

Steven.
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Old 12-07-2013, 03:21 PM   #8
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Was it just chili or chili with beans? Containers of beans that are allowed to cool without stirring can develop sour spots in the center of the container. Later when the whole thing is stirred, as during heating, that sour mess in the center is mixed through out. It's possible that the restaurant had already experience a no stir cooling. I've heard of more than a couple large group meals being ruined with sour beans.
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Old 12-07-2013, 03:23 PM   #9
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Hmm. Steven said his chili had pinto beans. Interesting possibility, Oldvine.
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Old 12-07-2013, 05:03 PM   #10
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Thank you, Oldvine!

I like that! One quart was in the fridge and being dipped from every day for eating, while the other quart just sat there untouched until it was frozen and then thawed. So maybe the untouched quart developed some sourness in my fridge before I froze it! Fortunately, I had split into two Pyrex bowls before freezing (without stirring it first). One bowl was small, which is the one we thawed and then tossed out. The other bowl was the bigger one, and it's now thawing in the fridge. When it's thawed, I think I will taste it, and if it's sour, I'll stir it, and then taste it again. If you're correct, I bet the sour taste will go away.

I'll post back here after I make some conclusions. Thanks again!

Steven.
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